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Journal Article

Forced motion near black holes

MPS-Authors
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Drasco,  Steve
Astrophysical Relativity, AEI-Golm, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Hinderer,  Tanja
Astrophysical and Cosmological Relativity, AEI-Golm, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Babak,  Stanislav
Astrophysical Relativity, AEI-Golm, MPI for Gravitational Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Fulltext (public)

1012.5111
(Preprint), 945KB

PRD83_044037.pdf
(Any fulltext), 932KB

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Citation

Gair, J. R., Flanagan, E. E., Drasco, S., Hinderer, T., & Babak, S. (2011). Forced motion near black holes. Physical Review D, 83(4): 044037. doi:10.1103/PhysRevD.83.044037.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-000F-1052-8
Abstract
We present two methods for integrating forced geodesic equations in the Kerr spacetime, which can accommodate arbitrary forces. As a test case, we compute inspirals under a simple drag force, mimicking the presence of gas. We verify that both methods give the same results for this simple force. We find that drag generally causes eccentricity to increase throughout the inspiral. This is a relativistic effect qualitatively opposite to what is seen in gravitational-radiation-driven inspirals, and similar to what is observed in hydrodynamic simulations of gaseous binaries. We provide an analytic explanation by deriving the leading order relativistic correction to the Newtonian dynamics. If observed, an increasing eccentricity would provide clear evidence that the inspiral was occurring in a non-vacuum environment. Our two methods are especially useful for evolving orbits in the adiabatic regime. Both use the method of osculating orbits, in which each point on the orbit is characterized by the parameters of the geodesic with the same instantaneous position and velocity. Both methods describe the orbit in terms of the geodesic energy, axial angular momentum, Carter constant, azimuthal phase, and two angular variables that increase monotonically and are relativistic generalizations of the eccentric anomaly. The two methods differ in their treatment of the orbital phases and the representation of the force. In one method the geodesic phase and phase constant are evolved together as a single orbital phase parameter, and the force is expressed in terms of its components on the Kinnersley orthonormal tetrad. In the second method, the phase constants of the geodesic motion are evolved separately and the force is expressed in terms of its Boyer-Lindquist components. This second approach is a generalization of earlier work by Pound and Poisson for planar forces in a Schwarzschild background.